Monday, April 18, 2011

Horse, Motor Car Share Main Street, U.S.A.'s Thoroughfare

04.18.11 - An almost forgotten era of America's history is relived by guests entering Disneyland's Main Street, USA. The feeling of a typical small thoroughfare of the 1900 era will be experienced by guests strolling down Main Street, U.S.A.

Walt Disney, who was reared in a small mid-western town of Marceline, Missouri, worked with his staff in building Main Street, U.S.A. so that the uniqueness of this street would be authentic to the smallest detail.

The same demand for detail is designed into the Main Street vehicles. Many types of unique conveyances are represented on Main Street, U.S.A.

The four horse-drawn streetcars on Main Street are composite reproductions of 19th century streetcars you might have found in such late 1800 cities as Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia or New York.

WED Enterprises, Walt's planning and designing firm, built the horse-drawn streetcars by working from photographs of earlier authentic vehicles.

The large horses which pull the streetcars are either Percheron, Belgian, Clydesdale, or a cross between Shire and Percheron. These horses each receive a minimum of 30 hours special training before going "on stage." Each works a four-hour day, five-day week, and is given taxi service to and from the stables — it sure beats our work week!!

The horseless carriages on Main Street, U.S.A. are a composite of the design and size of many gas-driven cars of that early period of automobile history.

The three horseless carriages that carry guests entering and exiting the Park run on two-cylinder water pump engines that chug and snort just like the originals. But not everything is a reproduction. The external parts, such as the horns, lights and wheels, are authentic.

The green and yellow double-decker Omnibus is as authentic as any bus you might have found on the main streets of New York, Chicago or Boston at the turn of the century. An old electric English klaxon horn is the only original part used in the building of the two Disneyland Omnibuses.

The Studio designers built the Omnibuses or for that matter, all the vehicles, so that guests would have greater comfort, safety, and convenience. The drop frame chassis is from a modern day truck. Having a modern day engine, the buses also include power steering and power brakes.

On your next visit to the Magic Kingdom, leave the hustle and bustle of today's streamlined transportation and travel down Disneyland's Main Street, U.S.A. The years will roll back until there is only the sound of a casual clop-clop of a horse-drawn streetcar and the chug-chug of the horseless carriages.

From the fall 1968 edition of Disney News magazine, published by Disneyland.

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